The Northern region of South Africa is one of the most intense regions in the country as it consists of seven depots that need to be visited and their demographics updated so this journey took more than a week to complete.
We started the week on Wednesday, 4 September, in Pretoria where I then spent the next two days dealing with the Brits demos as
well as the Pretoria depot demos and then ended the week off in Witbank. The following week we started the journey in Polokwane then through to Louis Trichardt then onto Tzaneen and finally finished the week off on Friday the 13th in Nelspruit.
The first depot I visited was the Pretoria depot where I sat with Jaco Kotze (Brits Contractor) and we agreed on the following changes. 0 NU areas are to be removed from Brits and we are adding a total of 11 new distribution areas with a total quantity of over 22,000. Once I had completed the Brits demos it was then time for us to address the demos for the Pretoria depot which was also handled at the Pretoria depot the following day.
Myself and Queen (Pretoria Branch Coordinator) sat and discussed the changes that needed to be made. For the Pretoria demos we agreed on the following changes, we agreed that there were no NU areas that needed to be removed as all of them are in fact distribution areas and we also added three new areas with a total house count of 2598.
On the Morning of 6 September we started our drive towards Witbank depot over 400km's there and back where we met with Tanya Koch (Witbank Branch Manager), together we addressed the demos for her region with the following results. Two NU areas were removed and nine new areas have been added with a total of 5437 new households.
On a personal note whilst in Witbank, we analysed data into the appropriate format and made the changes to 26 NU areas.
The following week, having completed the Brits, Pretoria and Witbank depots, myself and Oubrey Lechuti headed off to the Northern Region of South Africa, Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces.
We started the week, Monday, 8 September, with a drive up from Johannesburg to Polokwane where we were to address the demographics with Malesela "Solly" Mahloko (Polokwane and Louis Trichardt Branch Manager). During our discussions we agreed on the following changes. 0 NU areas were removed and approximately 3700 new households were added with the inclusion of 11 new areas.
After the depot visit of Polokwane and resting for the night, we headed further north journeying to Louis Trichardt with Solly. The drive took over an hour to get to the Louis Trichardt depot which was very easy and the roads were a joy to drive, until we got to the town of Louis Trichardt, there were plenty of potholes in the roads which made it quite difficult to get around.
The depot visit in Louis Trichardt went according to plan as Solly was well prepared and ready for us to be able to address the demos for both his depots. The following changes were made, 0 NU areas were removed and an estimated 10,200 new households were added to our demos with the inclusion of 18 new areas.
On a personal note:
During our research time which was done in Venda, We were able to visit some of the traditional village areas. We were lucky enough to be taken around by one of On the Dots contractors who was family of the chief of his village, we then got the chance to visit the chiefs house and interview his family. It was a great experience where I learnt a lot about the Venda Culture.
Once we had completed the depot visits of Louis Trichardt, we then headed onto Tzaneen depot where we met with Ruan Henning (Tzaneen Branch Manager) and two of his contractors to assist us with the demos for the Tzaneen region. The following changes were agreed upon. 0 NU areas were removed and a total of 19 new areas have been added with a total of 10000 new households to distribute to.
It had been a long week of traveling as we headed on towards Nelspruit or Mbombela as it is now known and we met with Jacques Roslee (Nelspruit Depot Manager). We had worked for most of the day and our discussions carried on for more than 12 hours as we ended the day at 11 pm, I want to take this opportunity to thank Jacques as he made sure that he freed up his time so that we could do what needed to be done. The following changes were discussed, analysed and agreed upon, 61 new areas have been added and more are still to come as we are in the process of making sure that all the areas that are on our demos are a true reflection of what is going on in the community. From 61 new distribution areas we have added a total of 19,456 new households. Two Nu Areas have been removed.
I have to say that this trip was very enjoyable. I learnt a lot not only about the areas that are within the Northern region but also the communities in these areas. I would like to say a big thank you to all the Depot Managers and their teams for being so well prepared and hospitable during the depot visits. We drove a total of 2400 km through the northern region.
And that wraps up the week in Northern Region.